Update on difficult child who recently moved out. Could it be?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WaveringFaith, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Good morning all.. I thought I would provide a quick update on how my difficult child is doing since I kicked him out last week due to his recent outburst. Quick recap: He's been depressed for 2 years, came back to live with me last year, has done absolutely nothing with his life except be an anti-social living zombie in my home. We've tried therapists, different medications, he's had opportunities to get a job and never follows through. Last straw was an angry argument we had where I decided to quit enabling him and he snapped by yelling profanity in my face and throwing a chair across the room. He never put his hands on me, but I did feel fear he might. So that was it, I kicked him out and he ended up at my parents house an hour away where he's been since Tuesday of last week.

    My parents haven't been giving me regular updates as I requested not to know. He needs to find his way and in my effort to detach myself (for the sake and sanity of myself and my 10yr easy child, I felt I just didn't want to know at this time). I knew he was safe and that was enough for me. difficult child sent me an email a few days ago expressing sincere apologies for his out of character outburst. I posted about this previously. He asked nothing more than my forgiveness and agreed he should stay away while he tries to get his life together. I did end up replying back to him, very short and to the point, but still loving - as many of you suggested. Basically just saying I appreciated his apology and that I agreed he needs to focus on getting his life together and we can talk about how we'll move forward when he does that. I told him I loved him and that me and his little brother will be rooting for him. He didn't reply, but I know he read it and it probably put him at ease that we are at least on okay terms. I felt good after our email exchange. And I've just hoped that he will follow through, and continued working on detaching and going about me and easy child's little life.

    Well, last night my dad called me to give me an update. Even though I told myself I didn't want to know curiosity got the best of me. What my dad ended up telling me left me speechless. difficult child seems to have made a complete turnaround from the boy that we have all known the past 2 years. He has been getting up early every morning to go work out at the local gym, he makes his own breakfast, cleans up, is engaging in conversation with my parents, going places with them - in Public! That alone amazed me. He has been anti-social for almost a whole year. When we would go out, anywhere, he couldn't make eye contact with people, and I could see his anxiety. So he became a reclusive zombie. So I couldn't believe my ears. My dad continued by saying they go to lunch and dinner at restaurants and difficult child talks to the wait staff and even FLIRTS with girls his age (this is unheard of with him)! He has gotten all dressed up and been going to job interviews and applying to jobs online like crazy. He went and bought a lot of vitamins at the health food store. He's basically reverted back to the same boy he was BEFORE the depression hit him 2 years ago. This is the person he was, and the same things he did.

    I do not know how to take this information. I later called my mom to verify all that my dad said and she agreed with it all. She said she is shocked by the change also. "He looks and acts just like a regular kid his age, like he always used to be.." she said. We discussed the possibility that maybe he's "on something" that is making him have this high. But she said that she has had in depth conversations with him the past week and she can see he is calm, not manic, no crazy eyes, he's been consistent in behavior, maybe only a few times where he went back to his room to be alone, but was always coming out and acting the same positive behavior. Part of me wants to think that kicking him out really DID make him snap and turn his life around. But what does this mean about the mental illness I thought he had all this time? He was like an invalid in my home, unable to get out of bed and be functional. He's clearly off the medications he had been taking while in my care (wellbutrin xl).

    My parents seem to think that it's because he is back in our hometown in their house, which is "home sweet home". That he might feel safer there, he grew up there when he was little (we later moved to Arkansas where he made his high school friendships). But as a little boy, the was our safe town, this is where he is comfy. He knows he way around the little town, not like the big city where I live, he never liked it. So basically... I'm at a loss. My mom doesn't want to get her hopes up - as I do not either. She still feels he may wake up tomorrow and that will be the end of this good streak, and he'll go back to zombie life. I fear the same. Then I think maybe he's bipolar and he is in the manic stage. But he's not showing all symptoms of that condition. This has been since Tuesday of last week. If he gets a job soon while he's on this positive momentum, I feel that he would succeed.

    Any thoughts or feedback on what in the world is happening? I'm so amazed and still in shock. If you could only have seen the way he has been the past year in my home. Then I think.. was I doing something that was keeping him from progressing? How can he just improve overnight in this way? Was his "mental illness" just a cover for his laziness? Was it for attention? Or did he truly have depression and my kicking him out really did what I had hoped it would - make him take action on his life?!
  2. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    I am almost scared to feel happy or hopeful about this miraculous change, for fear that it is not what it seems. But at the same time, I want to believe something positive like this could actually happen, and I want to thank God for a miracle? Then again, do miracles really happen? And if he continues in this positive direction, how long until I can believe it is for real? I have so many question in my head, my heart does not know how to react. I will just breathe and keep doing what I've been doing. Not be too hopeful, let him do his thing, detach, continue praying and meditating and going about me and easy child's life and be thankful for how he's doing now, and just see what happens..
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hate to be a cynic, but my daughter made many short term changes and then went right back to being not so great again. I would certainly make sure he keeps it up longer, if it were me, and see if he is ready to get a job and pay his own bills too. He may just be doing what he knows you want him to do to get back in your good graces so you will let him come home...our difficult children are no dummies.

    Unlike you, I'm not a big believer in miracles when it comes to personal behavior. I am not you, but my own method is to sit back and wait and see. And if you allow him back home, set a list of rules that absolutely can not deviate from. If he were my son, one would be he works, and I don't care where, but he also pays rent and his own bills, like the cell and car insurance. He doesn't need to pay 100% of the bill, but his own portion. That's what I make my kids do and all of them have turned out to be hard working adults, even when they are struggling. Even my autistic son is a very hard worker who also doesn't complain about doing chores at home. No slackers here because they slack and they have no money. I'm not a perfect parent by any means, but I think we did it right to force a good work ethic on them.

    I think it is quite possible his "mental illness" was laziness or drugs, although you say he doesn't take drugs. I've known adult kids to hide it well. His behavior is a lot like one who smokes a lot of pot, although it could be something else too...or just laziness. At any rate, none of us want to believe our adult kids are lacking in character. When they told me my daughter, who was then abusing drugs, had bipolar, I believed it and felt so badly for her and she got the cotton fluff treatment until she went too far. She has been clean for ten years now and clearly does not have bipolar.

    It is not hard to look up the symptoms and talk a therapist into saying "He's depressed."

    My weather forecast on this entire situation would be: Cloudy...take extreme caution while driving.

    Hugs...remember that YOU are as important as your son. Don't let your love for him cloud your vision. Why not neutrally see how long it lasts?
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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your post reminds me of this Buddhist parable........

    We'll See...***

    There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

    "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

    "We'll see," the farmer replied.

    The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

    "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.

    "We'll see," replied the old man.

    The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

    "We'll see," answered the farmer.

    The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

    "We'll see" said the farmer.


    WF, your son's actions sound very good. And, as you know, bi-polar cycles are different, they can be very long or very short. But, no matter what the reason, I think TIME is important now. He is doing well where he is, he is not a drain on your parents, everyone is okay. Without making a good or bad, right or wrong judgement, perhaps, as in the story, holding the thought of "we'll see." As time progresses, it will be easier to see if he holds a job and continues in this healthy direction.

    Having said all of that, I am a believer in the power we all have to enact change in our lives, even if we have a mental illness or a personality disorder, or whatever, I think our power to change ourselves is extraordinary. I hope your son has been shocked out of his depression, I hope this is an enormous victory for you because of the actions you took and for him, that he popped out and launched himself into his life.................and, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions right now..............I would stay the course and do exactly what you are doing..........loving him but remaining detached from his choices.............you are doing a fantastic job WF................and I hope that he continues on his journey to health.
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  5. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Sorry I keep tacking on my own comments to this.. but I just so many thoughts in my head. I know everything might seem to point to bipolar and he's in the manic stage.. This was mine and my mother's first thoughts also, but he has shown no "highs" of the disorder in the past 2 years. Only depression and lethargy. He has had NO manic-like behavior in 2 years, so for him to all of sudden improve and seem happy and calm and stable the past week, well... I just don't know what to think. Can depression turn into bipolar like that? I want to find a medical rational answer to this sudden change, but still hopeful it could honestly just be that he was devastated by the outburst he had against me and me throwing him out in that final way, that made him click. Ok, I will quit racking my brain over this.. I need a cookie.. :confused:
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I like RE's "we'll see." Mania is very "out there" behavior. I have been in psychiatric hospitals three times and have seen full blown mania. (I was diagnosed with a mood disorder myself). Your son's sense of timing is uncanny. Please...calm down, have a peaceful day, and wait and see.

    Recovering, another great gem :)
  7. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Thank you MWM and Recovering for quickly coming to my rescue.. lol.. You are so right. Time WILL tell. The positive things about this are that my parents have not been pushing him to do these things (they told me that they are allowing him to hopefully find his own way without them controlling him). So that is good to know that he is taking it upon himself to do these things. Secondly, I did make it clear in my email that he wasn't coming back to live in my home. So I do not think he would expect that I would EVER let him back. But again, we'll never know what his true intentions are. And yes, we don't know exactly how these mental/personality disorders work, or how they affect each individual.

    I will allow time to be my guide. In the meantime, I will keep on keeping on as I have been, not doing anything more or less, letting difficult child find his way and just hope for the best. MWM, I've become pretty cynical the past few months too, having lived in the enabling mommy cloud for 2 years, so I will guard my heart and not get too hopeful.

    Thank you all for calming me down.. This forum is a blessing to me, and so are you all. :)
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WF, it's a normal response to want to figure out the whys and the wherefores, however, whatever the reason for your son's improvement, in the final analysis, it doesn't even matter. It is what it is. He will steadily improve or he will hit a wall and stop. You can't control that and you can't change it. All you can do is wait it out and continue with your own detachment for YOU, so that his ups and downs don't send you on a new ride every time he changes. He's safe and apparently doing well, put that somewhere in a little box in your brain and ENJOY YOUR DAY. Don't ruminate over the reasons, you may never know............if this is it and his entire life from here on out is healthy and wonderful.................wow, that's great................but if it isn't.............well, in that moment you can trust yourself to know how to respond. Today? Go out there and play, laugh, have some fun, EAT LIFE and enjoy the ride.
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  9. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Recovering, you always know just what to say - thank you!!!:angel:
  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Well, I feel happy for you and for difficult child! This period is certainly better than ANY other option, right? I agree with the others not to get too invested, but still...what more could you ask for? Maybe he got the shock he needed at the moment he needed it. I do think that can happen. But yes....we'll see.
    Still, I am happy for you today!

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's true that whether your son is actually mentally ill, depressed, bipolar, smoking pot in secret, using harder drugs in secret, or just trying to get a free ride and toys from you, at his age it is less important than that he learns that doing better IS UP TO HIM AND HIM ALONE. Even a mentally ill person, like me, had to work my tail off (I wish I could illustrate the blood, sweat and tears that went into my improvements)...well, THAT ill person has to take control of his illness, find and get the best help possible and listen to the doctors. I do not believe that refusing medication is taking care of one's serious mental health issues nor have I ever known anyone who was so seriously mentally ill that he could not function to take vitamins and get much of a real boom for their bucks. Your son, if he is really depressed, is on the severe side. He can't disregard his doctors and get better. And what about the therapy that goes with it? medications alone is never enough because, if we are mentally ill, we develop unhealthy character flaws to deal with it and those are something we also need to work very hard on. So regardless of why your son suddenly regressed two years ago, and you may never know the truth, HE has to want to change it and he needs to listen to those who know more than he does and he needs to get ready to put forth a very strong effort to change. And, no, it does not happen overnight.

    Recovering Enabler is so wise and has the right philosophy. We can't fix our kids. We can't make them responsible for themsevles by wishing it so. We can't take a few good days and declar them "cured" (whatever cured means). We need to make a wonderful life for ourselves and see where our difficult children go. It IS possible that your difficult child thinks you will weaken if he does well for a while at Grandmas and let him go back home. This is a common thing. We have all been so soft toward our children, whom we love to pieces, that they don't believe we mean it when we say "you're out." We have to show them that we mean it. They also often will put on any act to get more money from us.

    Time, patience, and building your own life up so it's a wonderful, wonderful life...in my way to looking at things, they are your three best friends :)
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  12. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Echo, MWM.. thank you.. Only the next few weeks and months will truly tell me if his actions are for real or not. In the meantime, I'll keep focusing on easy child and myself. That's really all I have control over. It was nice to hear from my parents that he 'seems' to be doing well. Even for today, we'll take that. But I've been putting a lot of effort into detaching myself and it really is making a difference. I even took a bubble bath today. I felt so fancy, ha :)

    MWM, loved those 3 important things.. time, patience and building my life. That's the recipe of true peace :)
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    WF, we want to live by these tenets: It is what it is. One day at a time. Mind your own business. In the bad times.

    They also work in the good times. You are seeing a good time---a good number of days strung together for your difficult child, and that is such a blessing.

    why? who knows? The moon is in the 7th house, he is ready to take responsibility, he is in a lull phase of whatever is going on with him, God has worked a miracle.

    Does it matter? I know how we think---we have to figure it out so we can replicate the exact conditions next time. (lol, we are so powerful, aren't we?)

    It doesn't matter. What matters is what is. Just for today.

    You have your life and he has his life. If he is doing well, LET IT ALONE. Don't fiddle with it. Don't tinker with it. Don't shine a bright light on it.

    Use this blessing and this time to return your focus where it needs to be: on yourself. On your life.

    Take more bubble baths! I am so glad for you today and this is so hopeful for all of us. I pray it continues.

    Blessings and prayers upon you and your entire family today.
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  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Encourage your parents to make arrangements for your son to grow in their environment to the point where he can make that leap from boy to man. Getting up and going to the gym for a week is not getting and keeping a job long enough to get an apartment.
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  15. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Lots of good advise from the other moms, I agree that if doing well at parents house I wouldn't interfere with it.

    Wanted to comment on the thought of possible bipolar; often people with bipolar get diagnosis'd with depression because when they are manic they feel top of the world so don't go to doctor. Mild mania often doesn't look like mania at all. If he recently stopped an antidepressant medication cold turkey that alone could cause mild mania.

    My kids developed bipolar as children but I know many adults with bipolar (a few unmedicated) The adult ones who don't take medications only cycle a few times a year, a young child with same disorder will often cycle a dozen times before lunch.

    I would praise him for his efforts and hopefully he will find a job soon, a small town is a better placement in my opinion. Do advise your parents that if when they get up in morning he hasn't been to bed yet this is a big red flag. If he gets a job and stays up for 3 days memorizing the company manual and every component to everything they make or sell... another big red flag. But would go along with the others in the thought that if it isn't broke don't fix it. Take what you can use and dump the rest.

  16. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Just wanted you to know another here is listening and cares.

    I so hope your son will keep moving in the right direction.
  17. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Thank you all for your advice. Well, if his sudden improvement seemed to good to be true, it was. Shortly after I posted this update about my difficult child's surprising turn for the best, my mom said he has since reverted back to being locked up in his room and only coming out rarely to eat. According to my mom, one of the last times difficult child went out to eat with my parents, someone apparently "looked at him funny" and he totally changed back to the zombie he was before. So disappointing, but I am not surprised. Taking everyone's advice, i tried not to think much into it, and just let it be. Which I did. In the back of my mind, unconsciously, I of course hoped this was the beginning of good things. And it still very well could be, we're just not there yet - obviously.

    I will continue to doing what I've been doing and just hope he can snap out of it and get back on that positive momentum he was on. For his sake and my parents' sake, as they're the ones dealing with it now. But I now know that I do not have control over them, any of them, they are making their own choices. My difficult child, and also my parents for taking him in. I will not allow myself to feel guilty or consumed with worry like I always have been.

    Thank you everyone for your supporting words, they mean so much. :)
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, no.

    When I am in that place where I don't know where to turn or what to think, I remember someone posting to me to repeat the Serenity Prayer until it worked, for me.

    Here it is Wavering, for you.

    God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    the Courage to change the things I can,
    and the Wisdom to know the difference.

  19. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I'm so sorry his little "honeymoon" is over, I know that feeling when you post all "YAY" then a day later feel like you jinxed your kid or something by posting.

    In 2002 I used the word "stable" in a chat room; I don't think I saw Angel stable for 72 hour stretch again until 2010. For that reason I usually don't post when catch my girls in a good frame of mind, I seize the moment and enjoy it while it lasts... camping, the zoo, play a board game or just sit and watch TV together.

    With 2 teen girls with bipolar and the whole alphabet soup of stuff that goes with it, factor in their monthly girly stuff and we are lucky to get 10 good minutes a month around here. OK it's more but you know what I'm saying here.

    If nothing else celebrate that your son showed you there is a light at the end of the tunnel (it's not just a giant black hole)and know that with maturity those stable times will become more frequent and last a little longer. Fingers crossed he gets a call back on one of those jobs he checked into.

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  20. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Thank you Scent & helpangel. It does feel like I jinxed him by even talking about it, but I know that's ridiculous. It's been difficult knowing he's back to being the way he was in my home. You hate to see your child not being able to enjoy life, it's such a gift. I remember standing there giving him speeches about how all the unfortunate people in the world, like people without arms or legs, etc.. How they are still able to enjoy and be thankful for life. It was like talking to a wall. I know there's some issues he needs to work on. I truly feel he needs to see another therapist and figure it out.

    After he reverted back, my mom asked him if he would be interested in seeing another doctor and he said "probably". So the cycle continues. But you're right.. it was nice to see that he has it in him to be able to take some control and do what he needs to do - if he really puts in the effort. It was a good week that he was on this positive streak, doing everything right, acting like he did 2 years ago before this all took hold of him. It does show me that it IS possible. And I do celebrate that.

    It's hard to be happy and feel joy with the difficult child cloud constantly hanging over head. But I have been practicing my detaching and meditating and trying to just find peace. So I have my umbrella handy in case of a difficult child storm :)

    Happy Valentine's Day to all.. There is a lot to love in life, I will try to enjoy it today. I hope you do the same!